Amarilly of Clothes-Line Alley (1918, 67 min.) - Amarilly is the belle of Clothes-Line Alley, a neighborhood near San Francisco's Chinatown. One night, after a fight breaks out in the club where she works as a cigarette gi... more »rl, Amarilly (Mary Pickford) brings an injured socialite home with her. Grateful for her care, he hires Amarilly to clean his apartment and, over time, begins falling in love with her. But when Amarilly is presented at a posh social gathering, the disastrous results fuel the battle of high and low society. Mary Pickford is thoroughly charming and delightful as the feisty Amarilly.« less
Mr Peter G George | Ellon, Aberdeenshire United Kingdom | 03/08/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Amarilly of Clothes-line Alley is a good silent film and is indispensable for Mary Pickford fans. That said, it does not rise to the heights of, for example, Stella Maris or Daddy Long Legs. Somehow, Amarilly lacks the drama or the emotion of Pickford's very best films. It is a sort of Pygmalion story with poor girl Amarilly taken in by a rich admirer and his family, who try to change her. The rich are portrayed as either dissolute in their youthful excess or, if older, hypocritical and interfering in their attempts at charity. This is similar to the point that Griffith makes in his criticism of the charitable motives of do-gooders in the modern part of Intolerance. The life of the poor in Clothes-Line Alley is shown to be hard. Amarilly is unjustly fired for something that is not her fault. Living conditions are overcrowded and the food is simple at best. Even the seedy side of life is hinted at when a group of young men decide to visit an establishment which is obviously a brothel. Where will Amarilly's future lie? In answering this question, whether she will join the rich or remain with the poor, the film tells a story which is frequently funny, sometimes touching and constantly entertaining. The colour-tinted print which is used for this DVD is in good condition. It is faded in places and there are some scratches, but this damage is so minimal that it does not interfere with the viewer's enjoyment of the film. The score fits in well with the film's action and the period in which the story is set. It adds a great deal to the atmosphere of the various scenes and is memorable without being intrusive. Amarilly of Clothes-Line Alley is only 67 minutes long, but the DVD has a wonderful bonus feature. It includes a short film called The Dream. This film, first released in early 1911 by The Independent Moving Pictures Company, was made by Thomas Ince who would go on to make the classic anti-war film Civilization in 1916. The Dream stars Mary Pickford as a married woman who is having trouble with her drunken and unfaithful husband. She is delightful in this film and the film itself packs so much into its one reel that it is easy to begin to appreciate the lost art of the one-reeler."
Mary Pickford is winsome and adorable
Mr Peter G George | 03/05/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This was my first opportunity to see a complete film of Mary Pickford's, and its not difficult at all to see why she was considered "America's Sweetheart". She's a delight - sweet and lovable, but not at all syrupy or coy, with one of the most charming smiles imaginable.This 1918 comedy holds up rather well, with the necessary allowances for changing times and mores. Mary's a working-class Irish girl with a washer-woman ma and 5 rambunctious younger brothers. She's been seeing her equally working-class bartender boyfriend for 3 years, without even a kiss (like I said, she must have had a lot of charm to manage that!), but gets involved with dashing upper-crust sculptor Norman Kerry (who's handsome even to modern eyes). No surprises, it all ends well, but there are many cute and charming moments along the way, and the film flows together quite nicely given its age."
"Tee" | LA | 02/13/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What a darling angelic screen presence Mary Pickford was!! And today, almost a century later, she still shines as bright. Our Mary manages to be both a spitfire and a angel in a way no other actress from any era could match (and indeed, in this crude era with talentless, tacky starlets you won't be seeing any Mary Pickford types back on the screen anytime soon.) AMARILLY is one of the best of the two dozen or so Pickford films I have seen - she has a wonderful star "entrance" in the film where an unseen woman is cleaning a window - as she wipes it clean we see through the glass plate it's our girl MP. I've always considered Mary Pickford the best comedienne of the silent screen and this little gem had me laughing like it was a Chaplin or Keaton film. Mary was arguably the very first romantic comedy movie star - love is the theme of many of her movies and this movie is no exception, one of her most charming romance films. The print is quite nice though a few scenes are sadly imperfect. As a wonderful bonus, the video includes one of Mary's early one-reelers, 1911's "THE DREAM" in which Mary plays the wife of a cheating drunkard who in one drunken sleep imagines the tables turned (with our Little Mary smoking and knocking down booze!!). This little short is as good as the feature!"
Charming and Sophisticated
Bobby Underwood | Manly NSW, Australia | 04/02/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Affectionately dubbed America's Sweetheart, Mary Pickford was one of the most influential and beloved of that small group of film pioneers who helped motion pictures mature from a technical marvel into an art form. It is difficult in today's climate of instant media access for us to fully grasp just how popular Pickford was in her day.
Embraced by virtually the entire world, every twenty-four hours 12.5 million people reportedly went to see her at the flickers. She perfected her craft in an era of film when very few people actually saw her natural acting style for the hard work and genius it was. George Cukor often referred to her as the first method actor. She is simply wonderful in Amarilly of Clothes-line Alley and her glowing performance offers fans a glimpse of her charm.
Director Marshall Neilan crafted this funny yet telling look at love and life on differing social levels from a book by Belle K. Maniates adapted by Frances Marion, another pioneer of silent film. Beautifully photographed by Walter Stradling, this silent from 1917 was sophisticated and brilliant for its time. Even today, the underlying message and story seem fresh despite its age. Pickford displays a natural acting style much more subtle than the histrionic gesturing so common at the time. She had worked hard to develop her craft, and it gives her performance a timeless appeal. Marshall Neilan's film derives much of its charm, in fact, from her performance.
Amarilly lives with her mother (Kate Price) and young brothers in a pverty-stricken neighborhood. She is a sweet girl with a steady beau of three years named Terry (William Scott) who is still trying to get that first kiss from his sweetheart. One scene which has Pickford about to let him have that kiss, then teasing him when her brothers prevent it, is quite endearing, borne of another, more innocent time in America, and the world.
Having lost her cleaning job at the local theatre, Terry helps her get on at the cafe where he works. Bringing home a customer in need of mending after a brawl, Amarilly is taken into his his home as an employee. Despite being high abover her on the social ladder, Gordon Phillips (Norman Kerry) falls hard for her. Neighborhood gossip crushes Terry, but Amarilly learns at tea that high and low society are not a good mix. Terry will spend fifty scents on violets for Amarilly he would not waste fifteen for earlier, because he has now learned her value. Amarilly remembers her old romance, realizing what a mistake it was to leave Clothes-line Alley. But will there be a tragic price to pay for this lesson?
Realitstic and sophisticated in its acting and story, this is no Cinderella tale. Instead, Amarilly will discover where she truly belongs, both in life and love. Sweet and capped by a terrific ending I won't spoil, this is one of Pickford's finest moments, her performance ahead of its time. Silent film fans who haven't caught this one will be pleased to discover a film of this caliber. is very stylish and was decades ahead of its time. The same can be said of Mary Pickford's performance here. Music from the Mont Alto Orchestra fits perfectly and is quite unobtrusive in this Milestone release. An adorable performance from America's Sweetheart and lovely look at a bygone era in film."
A wonderful Mary Pickford vehicle--as if she needed one !!!
Matthew G. Sherwin | last seen screaming at Amazon customer service | 05/24/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Amarilly of Clothes Line-Alley takes place in San Francisco. Amarilly Jenkins (Mary Pickford) comes from a long line of blue collar workers who don't have much money--ever. Her mother, Mrs. Jenkins, does the clothes washing for anyone who can pay for it as she scrambles to get enough business to make a living for her family. Amarilly pitches in, too, trying to get more work for herself and her family and enjoying her romance with Terry the bartender (William Scott).
One day the theater where Mary cleans burns in a horrible fire; and Terry gets Amarilly a much needed replacement job in a much fancier club. It is here that Amarilly meets Gordon, a very wealthy young artist. Gordon notices Amarilly and even offers $150 for the chance to kiss her in a playful bidding match! Amarilly is struck by Gordon's sophistication, good looks and money--but Gordon's stuffy old aunt may spell trouble when she coldly decides to "experiment" with Amarilly when she teaches her about "the better things in life" for Amarilly's "psychological" benefit.
Will Amarilly remain in love with Gordon, who falls in love with her because of the person she truly is? Will Amarilly instead return to Terry and her life in Clothes-Line Alley? What might happen if Gordon's aunt and Amarilly's mother met each other at a social gathering? I'm sorry, folks; you'll just have to watch it for yourself to find out!
Look also for a fine performance by Kate Price as Amarilly's mother who does indeed have an infectious laugh that you can hear even though this is a silent film; and both William Scott and Norman Kerry turn in great performances as Terry the bartender and the young wealthy artist Gordon Phillips.
The quality of the image is excellent; the restoration process worked wonders! The choreography shines best in crowd scenes including the scene in the posh club in which Gordon pays $150 for the privilege of giving Amarilly a kiss. The cinematography shows good judgment as the camera picks up everything it needs to in order to help tell the story well.
Amarilly of Clothes-Line Alley is an excellent Mary Pickford film; she deserves to be remembered much, much more than she is remembered. Mary Pickford pours her heart and soul out to give a terrific portrayal of Amarilly Jenkins.
The DVD offers only one extra which is a short film entitled The Dream. This film depicts the plight of an unhappily married couple; and when one of them has a dream that dream just may have an effect on the marriage.
I highly recommend this film for silent film fans and people who enjoy Mary Pickford's wonderful work will be delighted with this film.
Great job, everyone--and thank you forever and ever, Mary Pickford!!! "